Thankfully, I am not a politician. If I were, I could never keep up with an election race. Trying to meet the demands of political support, party rules and protocol, financial backing, public appearances, possible accusatory slings, employment duties, and staying healthy would push me over the edge. Luckily, there are enough people who are willing to throw their hats in the political ring for me. All I have to do is stay informed and cast a vote.
The presidential candidates are all on a stage, no matter what platform of media covers their electoral bid. Television, radio, computer, smartphone, newspaper, magazine — you probably get to know them better than some of your own family members. They push for visual and name recognition and also seek your familiarity with their key political pitches and sayings.
General party platform and personal proposals aside, their presence in the media is portrayed by their (sometimes) careful choice of words and their unique styles of personality that convey those words. Choice of words and delivery style can be taught in a well-rehearsed and eventually polished kind of way. Some candidates may need considerable practice. Others may be naturally extemporaneous and perform superbly. Applying the normal, bell-shaped curve to speaking ability, most probably fall somewhere near the middle.
Other than an engaging and likable personality, a rational flow of words and a convincing oratory, there is more to be considered in choosing a person for the job. Personally, I would look to other indicators as well in making a decision, such as:
• Executive management experience in government, private organizations or businesses, where efforts toward goal achievement were directed to favorable outcomes.
• A demonstrated knowledge of the workings of governmental entities at national, state, local and international levels.
• Public endorsements by persons of notoriety whose character and trustworthiness have largely been established by credible sources.
• If they held a previous government office, a look at their publicly displayed voting record.
• The opinions of trusted and well-informed family members and friends on who should be president, with stated reasons why.
• Acquainting yourself with a broad spectrum of news and information coverage from liberal to conservative, rather than adhering to one-sided bias on the political continuum.
I doubt if an easy-to-follow formula exists in deciding on who should be president. Surely, a candidate’s personality might be a first consideration, as this is part of being human. I do not see it as wise to let the personality of a candidate be the prime driver of a valued vote. Other determiners need consideration. This just seems common sense but bears repeating given how some forms of news coverage will sensationalize personality displays.
Randall Wehler, of Moorhead, Minn., is a retired psychologist.